Richard Rohr's Daily Mediation: Generosity of Spirit
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation From the Center for Action and Contemplation
Joy and Hope
For a week in April 2015, Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence in exile in India. Their dialogue and interactions, facilitated by Douglas Abrams, became The Book of Joy. I’d like to share some of their hard-won wisdom with you today.
Suffering is inevitable, they said, but how we respond to that suffering is our choice. Not even oppression or occupation can take away this freedom to choose our response.
As our dialogue progressed, we converged on eight pillars of joy. Four were qualities of the mind: perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance. Four were qualities of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity.
[Archbishop Tutu said:] “Our human nature has been distorted, . . . I mean, we are actually quite remarkable creatures. In our religions I am created in the image of God. I am a God carrier. It’s fantastic. I have to be growing in godlikeness, in caring for the other. I know that each time I have acted compassionately, I have experienced a joy in me that I find in nothing else.”
When we practice a generosity of spirit, we are in many ways practicing all the other pillars of joy. In generosity, there is a wider perspective [italics mine], in which we see our connection to all others. There is a humility that recognizes our place in the world and acknowledges that at another time we could be the one in need, whether that need is material, emotional, or spiritual. There is a sense of humor and an ability to laugh at ourselves so that we do not take ourselves too seriously. There is an acceptance of life, in which we do not force life to be other than what it is. There is a forgiveness of others and a release of what otherwise might have been. There is a gratitude for all that we have been given. Finally, we see others with a deep compassion and a desire to help those who are in need. And from this comes a generosity that is “wise selfish,” a generosity that recognizes helping others as helping ourselves. As the Dalai Lama put it, “In fact, taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life.”
[Near the end of their time together, Archbishop Tutu offered this blessing:]
“Dear Child of God, you are loved with a love that nothing can shake, a love that loved you long before you were created, a love that will be there long after everything has disappeared. You are precious, with a preciousness that is totally quite immeasurable. And God wants you to be like God. Filled with life and goodness and laughter--and joy.
“God, who is forever pouring out God’s whole being from all eternity, wants you to flourish. God wants you to be filled with joy and excitement and ever longing to be able to find what is so beautiful in God’s creation: the compassion of so many, the caring, the sharing. And God says, Please, my child, help me. Help me to spread love and laughter and joy and compassion. And you know what, my child? As you do this—hey, presto—you discover joy. Joy, which you had not sought, comes as the gift, as almost the reward for this non-self-regarding caring for others.”
Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World (Avery: 2016), 7, 193, 257, 275, 298.
Image credit: Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan (detail), Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2013.
Thank you for being part of CAC’s contemplative community. You are one of 309,355 readers worldwide (as of November 2018).
News from the CAC
The fall edition of Oneing is here!
Unity and Diversity
This limited-print issue of CAC’s journal features Richard Rohr, Micky ScottBey Jones, John Dear, Polly Baca, Gideon Tsang, Naomi Shihab Nye, and others.
The authors give us a glimpse of what can happen if we pay attention and are fully present to one another, and the transformation we can experience by recognizing that diversity is not our enemy, but our teacher; not something to disdain, but to embrace. —Vanessa Guerin, Editor
Order “Unity and Diversity” at store.cac.org.
"Image and Likeness"
2018 Daily Meditations Theme
God said, “Let us make humans in our image, according to our likeness.” —Genesis 1:26
Richard Rohr explores places in which God’s presence has often been ignored or assumed absent. God’s “image” is our inherent identity in and union with God, an eternal essence that cannot be destroyed. “Likeness” is our personal embodiment of that inner divine image that we have the freedom to develop—or not—throughout our lives. Though we differ in likeness, the imago Dei persists and shines through all created things.
Over the course of this year’s Daily Meditations, discover opportunities to incarnate love in your unique context by unveiling the Image and Likeness of God in all that you see and do.
Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time! Click the video to learn more about the theme and to find meditations you may have missed.
We hope that reading these messages is a contemplative, spiritual practice for you. Learn about contemplative prayer and other forms of meditation. For frequently asked questions—such as what versions of the Bible Father Richard recommends or how to ensure you receive every meditation—please see our email FAQ.
Feel free to share meditations on social media. Go to CAC’s Facebook page or Twitter feed and find today’s post. Or use the “Forward” button above to send via email.
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations are made possible through the generosity of CAC's donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation.
If you would like to change how often you receive emails from CAC, click here. If you would like to change your email address, click here. Visit our Email Subscription FAQ page for more information. Submit an inquiry here for additional assistance.
Inspiration for this week's banner image: Dear Child of God, you are loved with a love that nothing can shake, a love that loved you long before you were created, a love that will be there long after everything has disappeared. . . . And God wants you to be like God. Filled with life and goodness and laughter—and joy. —Desmond Tutu
© 2018 | Center for Action and Contemplation
1823 Five Points Road SW
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA